ALTHOUGH West Indies (WI) skipper Kieron Pollard played the most integral role in leading the West Indies to a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their opening T20 International match, on Wednesday, the big-hitter believes he still fell short of personal expectations by being unable to carry the team to the end.
Pollard’s crucial knock of 38 runs from 11 balls was built on a historic display of six sixes in one over against Sri Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya. The feat saw him beome only the third cricketer in the history of international cricket to smash six sixes in one over.
South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs and India’s Yuvraj Singh are the only other two international cricketers to who carry this prestigious title.
Ironically, Dananjaya was on a roll, and achieved a hat-trick in his previous over by scalping opener Evin Lewis (31), and Chris Gayle and vice-captain Nicholas Pooran, both without scoring.
While Pollard was elated with his achievement, he had hoped to remain at the crease and lead his charges to victory at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
“It’s nice to be in the esteemed company of Hershelle Gibbs and Yuvraaj Singh. As a power hitter, these are some of the things that you dream of. It coming to reality is a surreal moment and albeit in a winning course, which is more important.
“I would have loved to carry on and be there at the end. I pride myself on trying to finish games and, with personal achievements along the way. My personal assessment is that I failed in the sense of not being able to take the team to the end,” said Pollard.
Spoken like a true captain.
Looking ahead to Friday’s second T20I against the Sri Lankans, the burly all-rounder wants improved perfor-mances in the squad’s batting and fielding display.
Having lost Gayle and Pooran cheaply, followed by another scoreless contribution from Fabian Allen, Bajan Jason Holder (29 not out) and returning TT player Dwayne Bravo (four not out) carried the team home with 41 balls remaining.
According to Pollard, consistency is key towards ensuring a much-needed series win on home soil.
“When you step on the cricket field you always want to improve. From a fielding perspective we were a minus in the field. We want to turn that into a plus in terms of saving runs.
From a batting point, we ended up losing wickets in clusters and trying to find a way to use our batsmen to negate the spin of Sri Lanka. Obviously that’s going to be a challenge.
“These are conversations we continue to have and hopefully we can come up with the right methods to combat that,” he added.
The WI captain does not foresee much changes to Friday’s squad and thinks that the continuous switching of players can hamper the player, and by extension, the team’s overall progression.
He believes the constant chopping of players from the team after one or two shaky performances does always reap the intended rewards.
Indirectly, Pollard threw his support behind 41-year Gayle, who, like WI selectors, received flak for his inclusion in the team instead of utilising younger talent, particularly Guyanese batsman Shimron Hetmyer. Gayle’s duck, on Wednesday, only added fuel to the fire.
“We don’t expect miracles from people and sometimes you have to give them chances and opportunities to fulfill what they’re trying to achieve. After a period of time, only then can you make a judgement call.
“After one game I ‘m not thinking about many changes. We need to get away from the fact that if a guy does not perform after one or two games, that he’s just not good enough and try to discard them.
“If, in life, we are discarded as individuals from our jobs after one mishap, how would we feel? Sometimes you have to think about cricket from a life perspective. We look for results and don’t think about the process. Sometimes the process is longer and sometimes you take your chances,” he said.
The second T20I bowls off at the same location, on Friday, and the CG Insurance T20I series climaxes with the third match, on Sunday.